The decision has been taken to accommodate the increased demand for payments through cryptocurrencies, the firm stated
Switzerland’s leading insurance firm AXA announced today that it will be partnering with crypto broker Bitcoin Suisse to provide the option of paying for AXA products in Bitcoin.
In a blog post authored by the firm’s media spokesperson Marcel Rubin, AXA explained that the initiative to enable Bitcoin payments has been taken in the light of the accelerated digital transformation in the last year that has significantly increased the demand for crypto payments.
However, the insurer also pointed out that even surveys conducted before the pandemic in 2019 showed that a third of respondents aged 18-55 either already owned or were interested in owning cryptocurrency. AXA is the first all-lines insurer to offer this service.
“This is AXA’s response to growing demand from its customers for alternative payment solutions, with new technologies playing an ever-greater role,” says Claudia Bienentreu, Head of Open Innovation at AXA Switzerland.
The new payment option is available to private customers of nearly all AXA products, except life insurance, from the beginning of this month. Users can pay the premium amount directly from their Bitcoin wallets using a reference number.
The amount in Bitcoin, equivalent to its sum in Swiss francs, will be calculated and the displayed exchange rate will remain valid for a specific time period. During this time window, the customers bear no exchange rate risk and can pay the calculated amount through a secure gateway. AXA has also clarified that it will not be charging any additional fees for customers who choose to pay in Bitcoin.
Despite payment using other cryptocurrencies not being possible yet, Switzerland’s second-largest insurance firm has assured that Bitcoin is just the beginning.
“Further payment options besides Bitcoin are set to go live in the near future, including TWINT. The range of payment options and services that can be used via the Web and the MyAXA app will continue to expand going forward,” the announcement stated.
However, while AXA has enabled users to pay using Bitcoin, the firm itself will not be holding any Bitcoin on its balance sheet. All payments received in Bitcoin will go to the insurer’s partner Bitcoin Suisse who will incorporate a commission of 1.75% to facilitate Bitcoin-franc exchanges for AXA customers.
AXA is also actively involved in other aspects of the blockchain space. It has been a board member of the Cardossier Association since 2017 and also sponsors the University of Basel’s Blockchain Challenge, where students investigate how a traditional insurer can tap into the growing market for smart contracts.